Share of Choices: New Ride-hailing Research Brief

For every five people who get on an MBTA bus or train in the Inner Core, one person hops into an Uber, Lyft, or other ride-hailing vehicle. In Boston itself, among all transportation modes – driving, biking, walking, and transit – one of every 25 trips ending within the city is taken using a ride-hailing service.

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Those are the estimates that MAPC researchers came to by analyzing Massachusetts rideshare data released on May 1 (fulfilling a condition of “An Act Regulating Transportation Network Companies,” which included provisions for Massachusetts to collect trip data from companies such as Uber and Lyft). Staff supplemented the information with data from a regional travel demand model, the Massachusetts Vehicle Census, and  “Fare Choices,” MAPC’s February 2018 ride-hailing report, in a new brief entitled “Share of Choices: Further Evidence of the ride-hailing effect in Metro Boston and Massachusetts.”

MAPC’s findings are stunning evidence that a transportation option that didn’t exist 10 years ago is having profound effects on the region— effects that researchers, regulators, and transportation planners are still trying to understand.

“Share of Choices” divides its conclusions into three categories: Travel Mode Share – the percent of total trips that are completed using rideshare; Public Transit and Revenue – how public transit ridership and revenue are impacted by these services; and Vehicle Miles Traveled – how ride-hailing vehicles are contributing to congestion by increasing the miles traveled by cars on Massachusetts roads.

So, what are the main takeaways?

Travel Mode Share

  • 1.3% of all trips in the MAPC region – 101 cities and towns – are taken via rideshare
  • In Boston, about one of every 25 trips ending in the city is taken using a ride-hailing service
  • In Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline, one out of every 50 trips are taken using rideshare

Public Transit and Revenue

  • For every five public transit trips starting in MAPC’s Inner Core subregion, one ride-hailing trip is performed
  • MAPC estimates that the MBTA has lost approximately $19.3 million in revenue as a direct result of ride-hailing

Vehicle Miles Traveled

  • Ride-hailing trips added 291 million miles travelled on Massachusetts roads in 2017 – and that figure doesn’t account for miles traveled when ride hailing drivers were ‘cruising’ for a fare or on their way to pick someone up.
  • Rideshare accounted for half a percent of all miles traveled by passenger vehicles garaged in the Commonwealth

While this new information offers a snapshot of Massachusetts ride-hailing activity, “Share of Choices” concludes that researchers and decision-makers need more than these aggregate data provided to the state to inform evidence-based policies. MAPC recommends that Massachusetts look to the examples of other states and localities, which are requiring ride-hailing companies to provide more detailed and comprehensive data on travel locations and patterns. Such information is essential to understanding how these on-demand ride services are affecting Massachusetts’ roads, travelers, and more sustainable transportation options.

Read the Full Share of Choices Brief Here!